My Life in Knots

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Designing Socks

My friend Sandi is a wonderful independent dyer and we collaborated to create a summer sock club in 2009. Most knitting clubs come about because a designer has a vision and then has yarn dyed to match that vision. Ours was backwards: Sandi designed the yarn and handed it over to me to become inspired to create a design based on her color choices.Month one I was handed a lush blue yarn. It wasn't a cold blue but a serene color with flecks of lighter and darker blues within. Before a design thought came to mind the yarn itself reminded me of running water in a warm stream during the dead of summer. As I started playing with the yarn I know it had to be made up into something with waves...cables? no we wanted to keep the club set no higher then the intermediate level and even though I love cables and think they're easy, not everyone shares my love.

I finally created a simple design with easy repeats that I felt any advanced beginner or intermediate knitter could accomplish easily.

Any Which Wave
Now to dish the dirt on these socks because i always see these fabulous designs by designers and wonder about things...well here's my dirt. In this beautiful picture above you see 2 socks artfully displayed on display feet. my husband is a wonderful photographer and has been charged with taking all our pictures for these projects. What you don't see is that the sock in the background was lacking a toe! I needed pictures and was a day away from finishing these off so we posed them in a way it appeared 2 socks were complete. they are now finished but they weren't then! But, they did only take a few days to complete from inception to finishing off. I personally write my patterns out as I create the first item and then i read it over to check the spelling and grammar, and then i use it to knit the second item as a way of checking the pattern.

We didn't have a theme established at the time of this socks creation but due to us both feeling the color and then the pattern appeared as water we created a theme for the sock club based around the elements. So what needed to come next?

Controlled burn
Fire was the next logical colorway Sandi chose to go with. i was presented with what looked like 2 odd sushi rolls of yarn. The yarn was dyed in sections so it went from yellow to orange to red instead of striped or variegated. This sock was designed to be worked top down or toe up and the pattern will match either way you chose to knit this. i created the picture above as a top down starting with the red. I had tested the pattern repeat and measured out how long my finished sock would be so I knew how many pattern repeats to do per color. I started on the red and worked until that color was the length needed and then I unwound the rest of the red from the ball and picked back up knitting with the orange for the next set of pattern repeats. Once i hit the heel area I simply picked up the yellow from the outside of the ball to create the heel. This way if you were wearing clogs you would see all 3 colors on the back. i then finished the orange section, again cut off the left over orange and finished up with the yellow. However, it was designed so someone could chose their own color lay out and people in the club have.

Now for the dirt! Originally Sandi dyed up a skein of yarn I actually love but it wasn't translating the way she had intended. She looked into flames themselves and saw the colors how they traveled from an orange into a white/yellow with the blue flame we all see. you will eventually see the originally "Fire" yarn she created as I have used it in a new design, but, for the sock it wasn't working. We discussed this and she came up with the colors you see above and then I was able to come up with Controlled burn based off the newest idea.

We had one last direction to travel in because Air well we'll say Air means you went earth was next.

Wandering Vines

Sandi's base yarn is a very nice wool nylon blend that holds the colors well and is great for sock making as well as any other item where you want soft wool yet the added nylon for durability and some spring! But, for her creation of earth she went to an equally beautiful yarn but something more specialty for socks an Alpaca silk blend. It's lush let me tell you!

The colors are beautiful in purples and greens and the yarn is a dream to work with, but, don't you know this was the hardest design I had faced yet! I wanted to show off the colors while designing something based around earth but anything resembling rocks or tree roots was just not working for me. Then I became inspired by my back yard.

We have a length of sidewalk running down the back yard hill that has many annuals planted along it; hostas, ferns, morning glories, sweet peas and the like. Towards late summer early fall the intruding vines that look like the leaves of a morning glory over take this area strangling the other plants unless you are diligent about weeding....we'll we all know my joy of gardening so yeah I'm not really dilligent, but, I find it just as beautiful to see these leafy vines over take the back yard before winter hits. the leaves go everywhere, up lilac trees, over the fencing and cover the pathway. our club was for socks one could create knitting top down or bottom up and i did manage to create a pattern that would look the same in Controlled burn no matter which direction you started in, but, for this sock I wanted there to be a marked difference because the wines in my back yard don't grow in one direction so when you knit one top down and then one toe up your vines look like what i see every fall. Theres a faux cable running up each side with some stitching done to mimic a rocky pathway between the fron and back of the leg. And, the leaves run back onto the heel instead of having a traditional patterned heel.
The dirt on these would only be that I have yet to finish sock 2. the club had ended and i moved on so this is part of my WIP's I have to complete before starting any new projects.

These are patterns listed for sale through myself for the pattern or through sandi for the yarn or a kit of yarn and pattern. You can find her on etsy at Twiggi knits

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